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Dehydration in Dogs

By Anna Webb; Broadcaster, Author, Naturopath has studied with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT) 5 months ago 2674 Views

27 Feb 2018 11:36:58

In extreme heat dog’s dehydrate very quickly. It only takes their body temperature to rise by 2 degrees for the symptoms of dehydration to set in.

As a dog’s fluids drop by just 5% dehydration is evident from dry noses, dull eyes, and a lack of elasticity in their skin.

Just in humans, water represents approx. 80 % of dogs’ physiological make up. Water regulates homeostatis and balance. It nourishes at a cellular level, flushes out toxins, encourages a healthy lymph system, and it helps transfer nutrients through the gut wall.

Just as we’re encouraged to drink 1.5 litres of water everyday to keep us hydrated, a 20KG dog should drink 660ml water daily simply for maintenance.

This amount of water intake increases in line with exercise and environmental stressors. These might be hot temperatures, travelling, or exposure to new environments.

Signs to look out for

A sure sign of stress is excessive panting, and a glazed expression where logical thought processes go out of the window.


I never go anywhere without a bottle of water to hand and I’ve trained Prudence my Miniature Bull Terrier, and Mr Binks my English Toy Terrier to drink from a bottle, rather than a bowl when we’re out.

Pru is well trained!

Often at times even if it’s clear they should drink, dogs simply won’t drink! This is partly down to ‘fight or flight’. Their instinct is saying conserve water, by not drinking as this will make them urinate, and lose body fluids.

Depending on what we’re doing, I’ll add a splash of filtered water into their meals. Feeding them both on a raw, balanced and super convenient diet by Natural Instinct contributes positively to hydration.

Raw food is approximately 80% moisture content, compared to dry kibble containing only 10% moisture.

Feeding as nature intended on a species appropriate diet for primary carnivores helps both Prudence and Mr Binks intake their water content daily. This gives me peace of mind.

Autumn and Temperature

As the seasons are turning and we’re heading towards Autumn, there’s a nip in the air that invites us to think about turning on our central heating.

Bearing in mind dogs are the most comfortable at around 18 degrees centigrade, I’m conscious of over heating my flat.

I’m always turning the heating off when I feel temperatures rise indoors. I’m fortunate to live in a very drafty Victorian building, so I know ventilation, and circulating air remains good.

Back in the day our dogs would either live outside, or in the ‘utility room’. So long as dogs have plenty of fresh water readily available, they do not need the benefits of central heating as much as we do.

Dogs body temperatures are naturally three or four degrees higher than ours, coupled with the fact many breeds have thick double coats,

Providing dogs have snug bedding, it might pay dividends to turn the central heating off if you’re popping out just for four hours.

Balancing the amount of heating dogs need will help keep their skin and coat in optimum condition, potentially reducing the amount of moulting and time spent vacuuming.

Apart from reducing energy bills as well as reducing any doggy dehydration, it’s worth popping on an extra layer indoors to keep your dog at an optimum temperature.

Autumn Hazards

Pru in the Autumn

Through Autumn we’re surrounded by falling leaves and conkers. Both are health hazards for dogs. It just takes munching on one mouldy leaf to cause digestive havoc.

As for conkers these are toxic to dogs and can cause an emergency situation if ingested. Dehydration occurs with sickness and diarrhoea.

If your dog is suffering with an upset tummy why not try Natural Instinct’s Zoolac Propaste, apparently it tastes rather yummy too!

Keeping dogs hydrated through a natural, raw diet is one sure way to prevent de-hydration all year round.

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